Ambitious new drama – The sweeping drama “Ambition Facing West” spans more than 70 years in the lives of a single family, tracing three generations of youngsters as their dreams of freedom and fulfillment send them away from family and home. The locale changes from Croatia to Wyoming to Japan in this play examining the immigrant experience with both humor and heart. SBCC is presenting the West Coast premiere of the 1997 play by Anthony Clarvoe. WHEN: 8 pm Thurs.-Sat, 2 pm Sundays through March 24, WHERE: Garvin Theatre on SBCC’s West Campus, 800 Cliff Dr., COST: $19-$21 (discounts for students, seniors and groups; previews $14), INFO: 965-5935.

Tamayo at SBMOA – Santa Barbara Museum of Art is serving as lead organizer of a new international exhibition of the works of Mexican artist Rufino Tamayo. “Tamayo: A Modern Icon Reinterpreted” is the first major exhibit of Tamayo’s work in the United States in more than 27 years, and features more than 100 paintings and portable murals amassed from public and private collections around the world. Dubbed “The Fourth Great One” in his native Mexico, Tamayo’s works conjure familiar images of the country, including the colors, textures, culture – particularly in his numerous renditions of Mexico’s traditional marketplaces replete with flowers, tropical fruit and native folk art. The exhibit travels to museums in Florida and Mexico City after its inaugural run here. WHEN: 11 am to 5 pm Tuesdays-Sundays, through May 27, WHERE: 1130 State St., COST: $9 (discounts for seniors, students and children; free every Sunday), INFO: 963-4364.

Two more shows – Just one final weekend for Dan Goggin’s award-winning irreverent musical “Nunsense,” which has kicked of the dinner-theater revival at the newly-restored Timbers Restaurant in Goleta. The semi-slapstick farce takes place in a sisterhood that needs to raise funds fast by putting on a variety show. The musical grabbed a slew of awards when it debuted 20 years ago off Broadway. Glenn Novack produces and Peter McCorkle directs a cast of local actors including Katie Thatcher, Jennifer Gimblin, Julie Anne Ruggieri, Holly Ferguson and Kelly Ary. WHEN: Dinner 6:30 pm, show at 8 pm on Saturdays; brunch 12:30 pm, show at 2 pm Sunday afternoons through March 18, WHERE: 10 Winchester Canyon, Goleta, COST: $55, $65, $75 ($10 less for brunch show), INFO: 968-2222.

‘Silk’ art – Yo-Yo Ma and his celebrated band of musicians have come and gone, but the University Art Museum’s “Sounds of the Silk Road” exhibit continues for another few weeks. The show features 21 types of rare musical instruments drawn from the countries associated with the trade routes, which connected China to the Mediterranean in the 15th century. Also running concurrently is “Crafting a Modern World: The Architecture and Design of Antonin and Noémi Raymond,” which features works created by the husband-and-wife design collaborators in Japan and the U.S. from 1921-73. The couple developed humane modern environments – including landscapes, furnishings, rugs and textiles – inspired by their personal connections with Japan’s art and craft traditions. WHEN: noon to 5 pm Wed-Sun, through April 8, WHERE: UCSB campus (park in lot 23), COST: free, INFO: 893-7564 or

Brooks alums exhibit – Five recent alumni of Brooks Institute of Photography have been invited to display their fine art photography at the school’s Cota Street Campus & Gallery. More than 50 images from the recent graduates will be on display, each with a different style and vision unique to the artist’s craft, including Big Sur photographer Kodiak Greenwood’s shots of the West Coast scenery, and Chris Buckpitt’s photos that capture the essence of people. WHEN: 8 am to 9 pm weekdays, 10 am to 9 pm weekends, through March 31, WHERE: 27 E. Cota St., COST: free, INFO: 690-4913.

Updated ‘Anne’ – After two recent world premieres, Rubicon Theater Company’s current production returns to the traditional, albeit with a new twist. Based on the true story of a young Jewish girl’s writings while hiding in her father’s office during the Nazi occupation of Amsterdam, “The Diary of Anne Frank” chronicles just about every human emotion and has become a dramatic favorite. RTC will stage a recent adaptation by Wendy Kesselman, based on the 1955 Pulitzer Prize winning play by Goodrich and Hackett, and including new passages from Anne’s writings. WHEN: Wednesdays at 2 pm & 7 pm, Thursdays and Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 2 pm & 8 pm, and Sundays at 2 pm; ends April 1, WHERE: Laurel Theater, 1106 E. Main St., Ventura, COST: $25-$45, discounts available, INFO: 667-2900.

Wednesday, March 14

Home on the (G)range – Fiddler champion Byron Berline returns to the Central Coast for two evenings of traditional bluegrass and Western swing music. Berline, whose résumé includes early stints with the “Father of Bluegrass” Bill Monroe and the Dillards and recording sessions with no less than the Eagles, the Rolling Stones, the Byrds, Bob Dylan and Elton John, brings a fine five-piece band along for this gig, which will be reprised the following night at the Song Tree Concert Series in Goleta. WHEN: 7:30 pm both nights, WHERE: Santa Ynez Valley Grange Hall, 2374 Alamo Pintado Ave., Los Olivos, tonight; Live Oak Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 820 N. Fairview, Goleta, tomorrow, COST: $15 advance, $20 at the door tonight; $15 tomorrow, INFO: for tonight; 403-2639 or for tomorrow.

Thursday, March 15

Songwriter showcase – Jill Whitmore headlines the second installment of the new monthly series that showcases local songwriters after hours at Jensen Guitar. Whitmore, who plays piano and dulcimer and is recording her second CD, will be accompanied by veteran local folkie Vince Chafin (guitar, flute, bass, drums), who will also perform a solo set, as will opening act Randall Lamb, who has been described as a “true folksinger in the tradition of Woody Guthrie.” Up to three audience members will also be selected to perform as the evening’s Mystery Songwriters. WHEN: 7 pm to 9 pm, WHERE: Jensen Guitar, 2905 De La Vina St., COST: $10, INFO: 563-3200 or

Orchid show preview – Beat the crowds and get an early and exclusive look at the stunning blossoms at this year’s Santa Barbara International Orchid Show at tonight’s gala grand opening and preview party. A benefit for Sansum Diabetes Research Institute, the fundraising event supports research, prevention, and improvements in treatment for people with diabetes worldwide. Enjoy a catered gourmet buffet dinner, no-host bar, live music by California-rumba band Luna Gitana and free orchid corsages for the ladies – and docent-led tours of the orchid show while the flowers are at their freshest. WHEN: 5 pm to 7 pm, WHERE: Earl Warren Showgrounds, Las Positas and Calle Real, COST: $60 in advance, $70 at the door, INFO: 682-7638 ext. 243.

String things – Classical music fans will have a tough choice tonight as the Shanghai String Quartet makes its Santa Barbara debut on the same night that pianist Alfred Brendel performs. If your taste runs more to strings than piano, however, you can’t go wrong with this versatile ensemble known for passionate musicality, accomplished technique and a repertory that spans the globe. The 24-year-old quartet performs works including Mozart’s Quartet K. 590, selections from ChinaSong, and Bartok’s Quartet No. 1. WHEN: 7:30 pm, WHERE: Santa Barbara Museum of Art’s Mary Craig Auditorium, 1130 State St. COST: $19 ($4 discounts for members), INFO: 963-4364.

Piano recital – There isn’t much that veteran pianist Alfred Brendel hasn’t done in his nearly 60-year career. One of the most prolific recording artists in history, Brendel was the first to record all of Beethoven's piano compositions and remains one of the few to get down on disc the complete Mozart piano concertos. Of course, he’s also appeared with just about every major orchestra in the world. His solo concert at the same venue two years ago was one of the highlights of the classical music season. This year’s program of Haydn’s Sonata in C minor; Beethoven’s Sonata No. 31 in A-flat Major, Op. 110; Schubert’s Impromptus No. 1 in F minor & No. 3 in B-flat Major, D. 935; and Mozart’s Sonata in C minor, K. 457, promises to be no less thrilling. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 W. Canon Perdido St., COST: $77.50 & $57.50, INFO: 963-0761.

‘Bloodlines’ – Lisa Citore, who works for American Greetings and has previously created “The Tao of Sex” in town in 2004 – has since assembled the gathered pearls of wisdom with additional stories about women’s “moon time” into 13 vignettes called “Bloodlines,” which premieres at the Center Stage Theatre this weekend. The stories come from around the world and focus on how women are tied together through menstruation, a unifying element shared around the globe and across generations. While the spoken-word pieces follow the structure of the highly successful “The Vagina Monologues,” Citore has added dance presentations between the stories, everything from mystical Sufi dancers to salsa and free-form, with the dancers all dressed in red. WHEN: preview on Thursday, March 15, and plays Friday, Saturday and March 21 and 24 at 8 pm, and Sunday, March 18, at 2 pm, WHERE: Center Stage Theatre, located upstairs at the Paseo Nuevo Mall, 630 Chapala St., COST: $25, students/seniors $20, and $10 for the preview, INFO: 963-0408.

Friday, March 16

Flower power – Now celebrating its 62nd year, the Santa Barbara International Orchid Show is one of the oldest, largest and most prestigious event of its kind in the nation, drawing top local, regional and international growers, orchid societies, amateur botanists and floral arrangers. All of which befits the orchid itself, the largest and most diverse flower family with more than 25,000 species including many capable of thriving in tropical jungles or near the Arctic Circle. Thousands of gorgeous blossoms will be on display for this year’s “Orchid Gone Wild” show all weekend in varied displays, many in lush garden showcases. A special sales area will feature blooming orchid plants, supplies, artwork, photography, corsages and commemorative pins with experts on hand to lead informal demonstrations about orchid care and growing tips. (For more on this event, read “Garden Gossip” on page 39.) WHEN: 9 am to 5 pm today through Sunday, WHERE: Las Positas and Calle Real, COST: $10 (seniors/students $8, under 12 free), INFO: 969-5746 or

Farce by the sea – It sounds like a caper by the Goleta slough, but “Dogsbreath Devereaux, The Dastardly Doctor or Nurses! Foiled Again!” is merely the whimsical title for Seaside Theatre's first production of 2007. The plot, such as it is, finds the evil M.D. planning to wed and do away with the wealthy widow Lotta Cash so he can inherit her fortune – and her late husband¹s clinic. Feel free to cheer and boo at will: with characters named Nurse Ivy Dripp and Dr. Phil Good, you know this ain’t a serious drama! WHEN: Opens 8 pm tonight, plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm, through April 1, WHERE: Theatre Molly Barbey, at Girls Inc., 5315 Foothill Rd., Carpinteria, COST: $12, students/seniors $10, children under 12 $5 (Dinner-theater tomorrow is $25), INFO: 684-6380 or

ECM at UCSB – The Ensemble for Contemporary Music gets the honor of closing out UCSB’s music department spring season with a concert dubbed “Mood Montage.” The title comes from the jump-cuts in the programming, which ranges from “Flashbacks” set on a septet to “After a Dammit to Hell,” a solo bassoon piece inspired by a barbeque sandwich in Alabama. Irish fiddle tune transposed to piano, a trio of strings, a flute solo in quarter-tones and ritualized music in a large ensemble round out the program. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: UCSB’s Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, COST: $12 (students $7), INFO: 893-2064.

Saturday, March 17

Storybook time – Hans Christian Andersen’s classical fairytale “The Little Mermaid” has enchanted children for years in every imaginable media, including the wildly popular Disney film. Ensemble’s Storybook Theatre brings the tantalizing undersea tale of the young mermaid who yearns to be human back to the stage in a version adapted by playwright Sandra Fenichel Asher with original songs by Storybook director Miller James. The family-oriented series has moved its public performances to the Marjorie Luke Theatre on the Santa Barbara Junior High School campus to accommodate larger audiences. WHEN: noon, WHERE: 721 E. Cota St., COST: $12, children $8 (under two free), INFO: 962-8606 or

St. Paddy’s Symphony – The Santa Barbara Symphony might have been a stodgy organization in its early days, but no longer. With a dynamic new music director and a thirst for new subscribers, the orchestra has already offered such innovative programs as a week-long Guitar Festival and a Symphony Night at the Oscars. Now the ensemble takes on St. Patrick’s Day with a brand new work – “Irish Set for Orchestra and Irish Band,” by young Israeli composer Yaron Gottfried – that layers traditional Celtic tunes in a classical setting. The concert also showcases 18-year-old pianist Natasha Paremski, 2006 winner of the Gilmore Young Artist Award, in Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1, and offers Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. WHEN: 8 pm tonight, 3 pm tomorrow, WHERE: Arlington Theatre, 1317 State St., COST: $25-$59, tickets for seniors and students start at $18, INFO: 963-4408.

Sunday, March 18

Yiddish songs – On most weekends, Herschel and Judy Fox are the regular cantors for their respective synagogues in Los Angeles. But today they team up here in Santa Barbara for a concert of Yiddish songs mixed with Broadway show tunes and a little comedy. Herschel is a veteran of Yiddish Theatre while Judy sang on the New York night club circuit, so you know there will be some theatrics – and maybe a little schmaltz – along with the music, making it an afternoon well worth the schlep from Montecito. WHEN: 4 pm, WHERE: Congregation B’nai B’rith, 1000 San Antonio Creek Road, COST: $15 (preferred seating $25), INFO: 957-1115, ext. 122 or

Dance at the Luke – We have to think that the late Marjorie Luke herself, who was memorialized at the theatre just last Sunday, would have approved of the community activities going on at the renovated Santa Barbara Junior High facility that bears her name, including tonight’s concert by Very Be Careful, presented by Viva El Arte. The Colombian ensemble plays a style of music known as vallenato, which features eminently danceable beats in a style related to the cumbia and with an emphasis on the accordion. WHEN: 7 pm WHERE: 721 E. Cota St. COST: free INFO: 895-9170

Tuesday, March 20

Singer-songwriter two-fer – Both Boston-based folkie Kris Delmhorst and Texan Ana Egge have appeared more than once at both SOhO and the Sings Like Hell series. Now they will appear on the same bill back at the State Street nightclub, a rare pairing of singer-songwriters that not only reach deep to create their catalogues, but also have the vocal chops to deliver them with style and grace. WHEN: 8 pm, WHERE: 1221 State St., upstairs in Victoria Court, COST: call, INFO: 962-7776.

Wednesday, March 21

Wine tasting social – The Women’s Culinary Arts Guild holds a wine and hors d’oeuvres tasting event today with delectables provided by Tamara’s Catering. The guild is comprised of professionals in the food industry who are dedicated to supporting women and all individuals interesting in a career in the culinary arts, with a primary purpose of fundraising for scholarships for students at SBCC’s School of Culinary Arts and Hotel Management. WHEN: 6:30 pm, WHERE: Christian Garvin’s Cellar 205 Winery and Marketplace, 205 Anacapa St., COST: $40 ($8 discount for members), INFO: 683-6634 by March 18.

‘Rain’ reigns – Normally we might be singing “Rain, rain, go away” as spring arrives in Santa Barbara, but if you saw Cirque Eloize’s astonishing production last year at the Lobero you’ve been praying for another “Rain”-y day to get here as soon as possible. In the style of its better-known cousins, Cirque du Soleil, the Canadian troupe Eloize eschews the tent for the theatre in a combination of dance, theater and astounding acrobatics that blend into a truly wondrous performance that is as enchantingly poetic as the physical feats are stupendous. The finale, which features rain falling from the ceiling, is one of the most mystical, magical and marvelous sights you’ll ever encounter at the Lobero. WHEN: 8 pm tonight through Friday, WHERE: Lobero Theatre, 33 W. Canon Perdido St., COST: $45 & $55 (patrons $100), INFO: 963-0761.